Philippine bishops seek forgiveness for silence on concerns about Duterte

MANILA - In a rare move, the largest group of Catholic bishops in the Philippines has sought forgiveness for its lengthy silence over "disturbing issues," such as the president's bloody war on drugs and his attacks on the church and its doctrines.
The church is highly influential and an important source of moral guidance in the Philippines, where about 80 percent of a population of 105 million are Roman Catholic.
Although known for speaking out in times of crisis and to rebuff doctrinal challenges, the bishops' silence over President Rodrigo Duterte's lambasting of the church and God, as well as his bloody crackdown on drugs, have raised questions about their unity and commitment to values.
"Forgive us for the length of time that it took us to find our collective voice," the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) said in a pastoral letter, issued late on Monday.
"We too needed to be guided properly in prayer and discernment before we could guide you."
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